FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2017
Marks Opening of 85th Texas Legislative Session
(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, the second highest-ranking Texas state senator, today (Tuesday) was sworn in for a new term representing Senatorial District 21, which includes all or part of 18 counties and stretches from the Rio Grande to the Colorado River and to the Port of Corpus Christi. Constituents and family members participated in the Opening Day Ceremonies that officially marked the start of the 85th Texas Legislative Session.
Senator Zaffirini pre-filed 51 bills before the 2017 session began, including measures that would prohibit texting while driving, increase courthouse security, enhance college financial aid programs, create universal pre-k and continue reforms to Texas' guardianship system begun during the 2015 legislative session.
“Count on me to continue to work with constituents, stakeholders, and my legislative colleagues this session to pass meaningful legislation that strengthens families, supports our economy and improves the quality of life for all Texans," she said.
"The next 140 days will provide countless opportunities to make a difference for SD 21 families,” Senator Zaffirini said. “I am grateful to my constituents for another term and look forward to championing the needs and priorities of our large and diverse district. These include jobs; public safety; the environment; higher and public education; and health and human services, especially for the very young, the very old and persons with disabilities.”
First elected in 1986, the senator has received more than 900 awards and honors for her legislative, public service and professional work, including more than 280 awards for excellence in communication.
Her legendary work ethic is reflected in her 100 percent voting record in the Texas Senate, where she has cast more than 55,660 consecutive votes since 1987. She has sponsored and passed 895 bills and 52 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 384 bills. Showing her bipartisan effectiveness, in the 2015 Republican-dominated Texas Legislature she passed 102 bills, breaking her personal record and passing more bills than any other legislator that year. What's more, she has passed more bills than any other legislator in the history of the State of Texas.
The lieutenant governor is expected to appoint new Senate committees this month. Her current appointments provide countless opportunities to champion the priorities of SD 21, the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, which has generated billions of dollars in economic activity for our state.
As Senate Chair of the Eagle Ford Legislative Caucus, Senator Zaffirini prioritizes the district's continued prosperity, and as Vice Chair of the Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee, she helps protect and conserve the district's water resources, such as the Rio Grande, the Edwards Aquifer, and the Gulf of Mexico. A member of the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System, she advocates for the state to protect life and property by preparing for major hurricanes.
Health care is a major industry in SD 21, and as a member of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Senator Zaffirini advocates for improved health services, especially for the very young, the very old, the very poor, and persons with disabilities. As a member of the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and of the Energy Council since 2009, she promotes responsible, sustainable development of Texas' energy resources. Through the State Affairs Committee, she addresses issues affecting local governments, such as eminent domain, and through that committee, and, as a member of the Judicial Council, she champions preventing cronyism and corruption in the legal system, promoting access to justice, and protecting persons under guardianship.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-Laredo, and 15 other members of the Texas Senate are sworn-in for new terms on the opening day of the 85th Texas Legislative Session.